Judging from his time on the Maryland coaching staff, Rob Ehsan figured that within the next one to three years there was a possibility former coach Gary Williams would step down from his post in College Park.
But this week in his first public comments since Williams’s sudden retirement and the announcement that he had been hired as an assistant coach at Virginia Tech, Ehsan said he was caught just as off-guard as the rest of the college basketball world when Williams ended his 22-year tenure as head coach earlier this month.
Ehsan’s days at Maryland, though, are officially in the past. After new coach Mark Turgeon decided not to retain Ehsan on his staff, the 29-year-old UC-Davis grad jumped at the opportunity to work under Coach Seth Greenberg. The school made Ehsan’s hiring official Wednesday.
Ehsan replaces former assistant coach Adrian Autry, who left for a similar position at his alma mater, Syracuse. Ehsan will take over as the Hokies’ primary recruiter in the Washington and Baltimore areas, but perhaps his biggest contributions could be his plans to expand Virginia Tech’s recruiting efforts to the West Coast.
If you’re not aware, Ehsan grew up in Sacramento, and was instrumental in convincing guards Pe’Shon Howard of California and Terrell Stoglin of Arizona to commit to Maryland in 2010.
“I’m gonna try to help out Coach . . . and try to maybe expand to some areas outside the normal traditional areas they’ve recruited,” Ehsan said.
Below, you can take a look at the full transcript of my interview with Virginia Tech basketball’s newest assistant.
When did Virginia Tech contact you? Was it after Williams retired?
“We kind of had a conversation a day or two after Coach retired, and it was pretty much mutual contact. I expressed my interest in the position and him expressing possible interest in bringing me in.”
Were you surprised by Williams retirement?
“It was pretty surprising. I think we all expected in the next one to three years, it was possible that it would happen. But we were a little surprised it happened abruptly.”
What do you think your biggest strengths are as a coach?
“I think being able to No. 1 continue to help with recruiting will be a big thing, especially our area here in DC, Maryland, Virginia and Baltimore. And also nationally, California, the West Coast a little bit and also internationally. I’m gonna try to help out Coach and try to maybe expand to some areas outside the normal traditional areas that they’ve recruited. I think it’s just an easy transition for me because me being familiar with Coach and the program and some of the guys, and me knowing the ACC like I do. I just hope to continue to help them and bring energy to help them be successful.”
What was you impression of Virginia Tech while at Maryland?
“For whatever reason, there was always a little bit of a rivalry, but there was always a lot of respect. Coach Williams and Coach Greenberg and our staff to their staff, I’ve really respected how competitive and how hard not only the staff of Coach Greenberg works, but in recruiting and all that.”
Did you have any other job opportunities besides Virginia Tech?
“I would say this was definitely my best option. There was some other things. I think it’s a really natural fit for me and Coach kind of feels the same way. That’s why I think it’s really good for both me and Virginia Tech.”
Will you recruit the same prospects you were going after at Maryland?
“It’s a little bit of a unique situation given that we play in the same league, but starting fresh now at Virginia Tech, my job is to use all of my relationships and hard work that I’ve put in over the years in recruiting and now try to help Virginia Tech the best way I can.”